Report: Zimbabwean government merges Zimbabwe Airways with struggling Air Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s transport minister, Joel Biggie Matiza, has reportedly confirmed that an airline company which was reportedly established by former president Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law has been merged with the country’s struggling airline, Air Zimbabwe.

According to New, Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore, “took a lead last year in the establishment – using State funds – of Zimbabwe Airways in a murky deal which left many believing the former first family owned the airline”.

Matiza said that the newly acquired Zimbabwe Airways planes were going to service regional and international routes.

“I would like to inform the nation that Zimbabwe Airways is a government entity. It is important to know that Air Zimbabwe does not have the adequate aircraft mix, an issue which has forced the airline to operate at a deficit. With the new aircraft in place government intends to merge Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways to complement one another on local and international routes,” Matiza was quoted as saying.

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Zimbabwe Airways acquired four Boeing 777s from Malaysia, the Zimbabwe Independent reported.

The first of the planes landed in Zimbabwe in April, but it was flown back to Malaysia a month later for “repairs” without flying a single commercial flight, according to Daily News.

There was speculation that the former first family would directly benefit from the operations of Zimbabwe Airways, though this has been denied.

In April ministers from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government insisted Chikore had no shares in the new planes, and had only been brought in to help with negotiations for their purchase, according to a report in the state-run Chronicle.

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